Think of this as Volume 11, Number 39 of A-Clue.com, the online newsletter I’ve written since 1997. Enjoy.
One of the local sports stations had a gasoline wholesaler on this morning.
He had bad news. Don’t go to the UGA-Alabama game in Athens this weekend. There’s no gas on Highway 316. You’ll be stuck out on the highway, stranded.
The hosts were apoplectic. Set us up with something, they demanded. How dare you tell us we can’t go to a football game.
The wholesaler was adamant. If you don’t start out with a full tank you will be sitting by the side of the road. He couldn’t get through to these bozos.
It’s the same everywhere. Each of the last two days, in my YMCA parking lot, I passed parked people sitting in SUVs, engines running, chatting on cellphones. The roads are still mobbed, but when I decided to get a little gas myself, I faced lines of angry people, and a price at the pump of $4.40/gallon. (Could have been worse, right.)
How can ordinary people be grown-ups when a 72-year old man is acting like an 8-year old drama queen. He talks about doing a deal, then walks in and blows it up with silence. The press and regular Republicans let him get away with it, Charlie Gasparino of CNBC saying "maybe it will work" when he knows the markets he covers will tank without a deal, and all the people he talks to for a living will go broke.
Don’t think this is entirely an American problem. Other countries are being broken on this wheel as well. Markets around the world are tanking while we dither.
Dodd is working through the political problem as
best he can, while Obama is remaining calm in the center of the storm.
Having ADHD and not a little bit of barely restrained rage in my
system, I greatly admire those who can stay calm like that.
What we need in a leader is someone who can pass that calm on to the
rest of us. John McCain has proven himself to be a drama queen. Even if
you agree with him on every substantive issue he has proven over the
last week that he doesn’t have the temperament to be President.
But the crisis we face remains, regardless of whether we pass a
work-out plan (or an Invest in America plan or a bailout — whatever),
and regardless of whether Barack Obama becomes President. The problems
we face have grown monstrously this fall, during a time when you would
expect us to have time and space to make rational political decisions.
What’s happening right now is a very short-term phenomenon. It will work out at some point and something will remain. Maybe, as in Hong Kong a decade ago, we’ll have more money than ever. Maybe, as with Japan two decades ago, we’ll have one-third of what we had before.
America’s credibility has been destroyed and must be rebuilt. We
have no moral authority, no diplomatic authority, and now no financial
authority. Our lack of financial authority will, if nothing is done,
end the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq — with defeat.
The climate crisis remains. The War Against Oil remains to be fought.
It is much like it was 40 years ago. What we saw then was the
cultural crisis. This turned out to be a hiccup within the much larger
struggle of the Cold War. The decision at that time backed the
continuation of that war, which was finally won 20 years later.
What we see today is a financial crisis. But this is a hiccup within
a much larger struggle, the War Against Oil and the climate crisis. The
political decision of this time must be to truly begin that struggle,
to transform our energy sector away from carbon and toward hydrogen.
While living in the day to day world of 2008 these larger trends are
hard to see. They were hard to see through the marijuana smoke back in
the 1960s. But they are there. And they will remain there in January.